Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Harnessing the Science of Persuasion

HBR October 2001 - by Robert B. Cialdini

The article is about the Science of Persuasion. Most of us may have wondered why some people are so good at persuasion and this article is trying to tell us that behavioral scientists have proved that persuasion skill is in fact Science which can be harnessed through learning. There are 6 principles identified in the research by the author and by behavioral scientists during the last 5 decades, they are:-

  • LIKING

  • RECIPROCITY

  • SOCIAL PROOF

  • CONSISTENCY

  • AUTHORITY

  • SCARCITY



Let’s examine each one of the above with some examples in our business/office life.
LIKING – The key behind this method is that “people like those who like them”. In the office environment most of us will naturally make friends with peers in order to make life easier. Unconsciously we want to know each other not just their duty at work, goals for this quarter but also their personal interests and how they kill time after work. We would automatically adjust our area of interest during daily encounter with peers and attempt to find similarity on various aspects of our life such as hobbies, interests, where to go or what to eat etc. You will observe that those born persuaders can find themselves playing an active role in any conversations and everyone enjoys his/her participation. Natural persuaders also can use praise properly especially on the opposite sex. People of same sex may resent praise if it is not delivered genuinely and carefully. Praise for opposite sex must be used with care to avoid being misunderstood and unnecessary harassment.

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